Historical Foundations of Political Economy II
This course surveys the development of economic analysis from the mid-nineteenth
century up to 1960. The early part of this period was marked by a shift from
the classical-Marxian focus on objective, or materialist, explanations of value
and distribution to the neoclassical emphasis on subjective factors. The theoretical
traditions associated with Marshall, Walras and the Austrians will be compared
with a view to understanding how these distinct traditions emerged, contended
with one another, and shaped the discipline. Due attention will be paid to
institutionalist economics, to the socialist calculation debates, and to the
impact of the economists who emigrated from Europe during the political crises of the 1930s.
The course concludes with an assessment of the challenge to mainstream
economics posed by postwar writings of the circle of economists centered at the
University of Cambridge, including Joan Robinson and Piero Sraffa.